Shouse’s seven goals secure title
LOUDON VALLEY 17, W. ALBEMARLE 11
lynchburg, va. — In the opening minutes of the Virginia 4A boys’ lacrosse championship, Western Albemarle goalie Jackson Sours looked unbeatable. The junior flashed a quick stick to deny Loudoun Valley’s first three shot attempts, including an acrobatic, leaping save that denied a two-man breakaway.
But Vikings attackman Mikey Shouse discovered a weakness — shoot low from in close. The senior relentlessly moved without the ball to get himself open on the crease and finished the game with seven goals, all from right on Sours’s doorstep, as Loudon Valley captured the state title with a 17-11 victory at Liberty University.
“All four years have been like that,” Shouse said. “I like to move more off ball than with the ball. Defenders turn their heads, my players make a good look, easy goal.”
After falling behind 2-0, Shouse put Loudoun Valley (19-4) on the board late in the first quarter. From there, the Vikings’ offense embarked on an 8-2 run in which Shouse completed a first-half hat trick that helped build an 8-4 halftime lead.
In an effort to avoid the heat, Valley retreated to its team bus during halftime, and the offense cooled off accordingly in the third quarter as Western Albemarle (15-5) cut the deficit to 9-7 heading into the fourth.
“After they went on a run in the third, we knew that we had more depth, we knew we could run them,” said senior midfielder Sully Warner, who finished the game with two goals and five assists. “We’d run too many sprints to give this up.”
In the fourth, Valley picked apart a tired defense that was unable to keep up with the constant motion of its offense. The Vikings scored four unanswered goals in the quarter’s opening four minutes as Shouse’s off-ball movement and Warner’s precision passing overwhelmed the Warriors.
Shouse scored his sixth and seventh goals of the contest from point-blank range on assists from Warner to give Valley its largest lead at 15-8 as the Vikings sealed their first boys’ lacrosse state title.
“We took pride in all the work weput in this year,” Warner said. “We were lifting and running sprints earlier this week, but we didn’t hate it, we loved it. That’s why we had so much success.”